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Cadbury Camp Mineshaft

By Tony Jarratt

On the weekend following the ‘Great Snowstorm’ the Belfry regulars were contacted by archaeologist and ex-club member, Keith Gardner, who wanted a mineshaft investigated.  The hole had appeared after the snow, on the wooded fortification of Cadbury Camp hill fort overlooking Yatton (NGR: ST 439650) immediately above the Country Club.  Bob Cross, John Dukes, Rog Sabid; and Wig bravely answered the call and John and Rog found the shaft to be approximately 150 feet deep, 8 - 10 feet in diameter at the top, tapering to about 5 feet at the bottom.

The first 8 feet or so is stone-lined and the rest is in solid limestone with a floor of rubble and earth at least 4 feet deep.  The shaft was partly covered with old railway lined and rotten timbers placed there after a previous collapse earlier this century.  No passages lead off the shaft and there are no signs of haulage marks on the sides or of any other mining remains in the immediate vicinity.  Shot holes were noticed in the shaft sides.

Various theories as to its use have been put forward, the most probable being that it is a trial shaft in search of iron ore, which was mined all along the hills as far as Winford, the nearest group of workings from Cadbury being in Kings Wood, half a mile away. Here there are many shallow shafts and levels driven insooth limestone and earth.  Suggestions as to its being a well are made doubtful by the dryness of the shaft, its position of only 50 feet from the steep hill-side and the fact that shaft bottom is about 85 feet above saturated moor level.

A dig at the bottom would prove interesting but rather difficult due to lack of dumping space - all spoil having to be hauled to the surface.  A few years ago a similar, though only 40 foot deep shaft opened up in the grounds of the Country Club and two others are rumoured to exist further along the ridge towards Claverham, though have not yet been investigated.

The Cadbury shaft is an excellent SRT practice site and the local council and commoners association have jointly paid for its capping and the provision of a manhole for access.  A 1” ring spanner and lifting key are required (a set will be kept in the Belfry).  Best access is from the ‘No Through Road’ ( Henley Lane) just past the Country Club going towards Yatton.  A public footpath leads to the foot of the hill and by climbing up through the woods behind the club the shaft can be found at the top.  Prospective diggers will need cutting gear to remove the five bar gate thrown down by local yobs!  A further pleasure of the site is its close proximity to Richard’s cider farm. Probably the best brew in the locality and £1-00 per gallon.

From the Tacklemaster

Ladders and ropes, too many to enumerate, are missing from the tackle store, with no indication of the borrowers or whereabouts in the tackle log.  Particularly annoying is the removal from the library a length of new super-braidline nylon before it had even been coded.  Somebody must know where it is.  Please return any tackle you have borrowed, whether booked out or not, as soon as possible, for checking.

REMEMBER – the tackle log has six columns:

 

Name;   Tackle description or number;     Cave/area;         Date out;           Signature;         Date in;

Code numbers are on ladder end rungs, on metal rings on ropes and on tags on tethers and spreaders.